Pen salmon grader shows promise in iFarm trial

Unlike conventional pen graders, which can only separate fish based on size, the BioSort machine is designed to sort and separate individual fish, based on specific characteristics, allowing for personalized tracking by breeders.

The device has now been tested on Cermaq’s iFarm, which is a collaboration between technology company BioSort and salmon farmer Cermaq, with ScaleAQ as the main supplier of farming equipment to the project.

“iFarm’s goal is to improve fish health and welfare through artificial intelligence and machine learning. An important step on the way is to be able to sort fish that require proper monitoring,” Cermaq said in a statement.

“Seeing the difference between fish is crucial to improving the health and welfare of fish in net pens and will be a big step forward for increased survival in salmon farming,” the company added.

“To my knowledge, no one has sorted crankbaits in a net pen before, so this is a big step towards individual fish handling,” said Geir Stang Hauge, BioSort’s managing director.

BioSort has been working on the development of the sorter for two years. The iFarm sorter, which is controlled by a number of underwater electric motors, was first tested in BioSort’s lab and pool at their offices in Oslo and then in the sea outside Oslo, before being installed and tested in net enclosures at the Cermaq marine site. in Vesterålen in northern Norway.

“The goal of this first test was to show that the grader actually does a good job of sorting crankbaits in a net pen, and it worked as we hoped, so it was a successful test,” Hauge said.

Currently, the sorter is manually controlled, but the aim is for it to be autonomous so that it can, with iFarm’s sensor system, make its own decisions based on defined criteria. However, this is a complicated and extensive development that will take time.

“Now that we have shown that it is possible to sort crankbaits, the work will intensify. The development team is learning from this test to develop the next-generation prototype of the sorter that will be able to work even under more of conditions,” Hauge said.

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